The Other way
- Publication date
- 16mm Film, Series: The Other way, Educational Film, Schumacher, E. F. (Ernst Friedrich), 1911-1977, Technology, Energy conservation, Technology and civilization
- British Broadcasting Corporation. Television Service
Presents E F Schumacher's contention that the idea that everything bigger is better is a 20th century myth. Argues that human needs must come first rather than adapting people to the needs of machines. Provides examples in favor of this argument.
- color: Goodsound: Goodsynch: Goodnotes: Colour fluctuates throughout.
- The continuing energy crisis has begun to make us realize that we've been burning up the world's limited resources a feel too fast and I'm like wood fossil fuels like coal and oil and non-renewable making energy the most treasured commodity on earth today. It's the price of our evolving in the West and there are more than two hundred years a completely new way of life almost everything for mass housing to transport industry and even food now depends on a vast use of energy. Instead of costing today's loaf in pennies cost in energy. Pressed a fleet of the total energy and one low this much goes on tractors. Combine harvesters fertilizers and pesticides. The power to Millet takes this much. Then just a package the resulting flour at the mill takes this proportion of the Grand some and to transported to the baker this much. Making the floor into a loaf and baking it uses up this much energy. Then it has to be packaged ready for the supermarket. Costing this amount and finally getting it from bakery to sales counter this much. The total energy put into this loaf would run an electric fire for about three hours. The snag is that each one unit of energy we now extractors food our new labour saving processes have burnt up three units of energy and growing. Baking packing and transporting the bread. Eat an egg from a modern batch rates on the news follow one sixth of the energy it took to produce it to feed and keep the head and then get the egg to your table and energy turns whether it's food transport all virtually any aspect of life today. We're probably the last of the big spenders we can imagine only the things that we see every day in front of ice that's something quite different as possible. We find hard to imagine now it may well be on cue it correctly. That's in the early nineteenth century production units were too small to be effective. OK With the help of concentrated fuels we made them bigger. I believe we've overshot the mark to. The man who said we've overshot the mark questions about the current trend to mechanize and automate everything around them. Life itself implies energy and depends on it to live means to burn it up but there's living within your means and there's a living danger. Is optimism assumes we will recognize the warning signs he sees around and act before it's too late. Because we value human. Energy So Jaime we get machines to do all the work for us it's always seemed the obvious way out but it could be a rather short sighted policy. Almost all the energy we use today to keep machines going is like oil from fossil fuels and it's non-renewable. The realisation that non-renewable fuel resources are limited has already sent prices rocketing it's beginning to force a rethink on how we use them. Cheap fuel gave us cheap transport making big industrial centers seen economic but power stations alone dissipate as much energy they produce in just keeping cool. We need some alternative to the six traffic and. Dr the Schumacher is a fuel economist he believes that if we face the facts around us we can find alternatives they already exist and he calls them the other way. Schumacher used to be economic advisor to the cold bored he accurately foretold the recent on crisis sixteen years ago and his advice is sought by many of the developing nations like India. Has made a name not just as a fasting economist but an economist who puts people first. And his book. Small is beautiful. Now republished in several languages he attacks current economic thinking which he says too often equates bigger with better completely ignoring the human factor. He's not however against technology itself quite the opposite. This is his wheelbarrow and it's unique it's battery powered it hardly uses any electricity at all but takes a lot of the hard work out of gun. Makes full use of his economic ideas and his own private life you not only points out the waste of energy in the average low few buy in the shop that makes his own bread and even milk to go meet. Basic stream then do it yourself for a may seem eccentric but by using his own energy to mill wheat he always has fresh flowers. Unlike US gets the full victim in value from the plate and what's more it's cheaper. Doesn't take much time and tastes very good. Many in the west and now taking his ideas very seriously but it was in a Third World for the industrial revolution has barely begun that his thinking is having major in. Despite all their problems. Schumacher for sees the reasonable future for such people but only if they don't succumb to the glossy new order of big technology. Unfortunately it's difficult to persuade a developing nation that there are any dangers and headed to and technological progress in one small town I was shown to work for papa. Who. With marvelous skill was making beautiful pots on the most primitive equipment. Here having taken that in I was taking out into an industrial estate which the Government of India had put there in order to bring industry into rule address the first man I encountered was minding a machine tool was being trained. Very expensive machine tool I asked him after you've completed your training where you then get into production here in this area he said how could I ever get hold of such a machine on my life and never see the money it takes to buy such a machine what are you going to do is set all I can do is to go to Bombay and look for a job but there are already hundreds of thousands of unemployed people in Bombay so if factors for this. And then it occurred to me that the government of India was putting an industrial estate there in order to bring industry into the rural area but it's in Hecht was another channel to draw people from the rural area to balmy so it didn't work and I reflected on this part of home I'd seen who's a critic meant was worth perhaps five pounds and this man who was trained on equipment worth five thousand pounds. And it didn't work the five pound technology is too primitive to make a decent living and the five thousand pound technology is too expensive to be within reach of the people whom it ought to benefit. And then I thought what is required is something in between the technology is much better than what they've got and very much simpler than what we need from the west over from the United States are introducing into the rural areas of India with the Indian government. Something intermediate that I called an intermediate technology coming back to England. I started talking about this. Of course people didn't immediately grasp it they said oh you want something primitive even the Indian start I'm on something primitive not really the best but something second best. But gradually people saw the point that the high technology which is so capital intensive and produces some few workplaces because there's only very limited capital cannot solve the problem of these millions of people in the rural areas of the poor countries and having talked about it a couple of years I felt you know one wants to move on from talking to doing and with a few friends we set up an organization. Never mind how small your start start the organization now has expert teams on a host of subjects they advise third world nations on developing their own intermediate technology and on avoiding our Western trend of high capital high energy and low manpower intensities. Schumacher and his team are often called on for advice by the governments of nations like India Pakistan and Zambia one result of such consultations was that I T. the intermediate technology development group produced a catalogue of agricultural implements which don't make their use is dependent on fossil fuels. These heroism plows either animal or man powered previously Western salesman rarely offered anything but motorized machinery and the catalog is in big demand. Such tools look primitive but their advantage is they only use renewable resources what Schumacher once it's improved versions incorporating the best modern technology I can't make the inventions that are necessary. No single organization can make them. But what can be done and what I'm trying to do. Is to suggest to my contemporaries if we look at things in a different way then new things become possible. The typical problem is posed in many hot countries where some a big plan has to be plowed before the autumn rains make it an impossible Quatermass even arcs of make little impression on such hard ground but few peasant farmers can afford our alternative a big tractor. There's also an idea that I have to be systematically explore want. For instance this is it really sensible to send two tons of tractor backwards and forwards across the land. Pulling occur of knife on the plow. Why not. Just pull the plug on the rope. Now in the olden days they used to do this particularly on hillsides where one couldn't do it otherwise but this technology has never been systematically perfect that it would be a tremendous simplification just to pull the rope. Mechanically instead of having a tractor with they now have over twenty different Guinn's. Also the obvious solution seemed to be an ordinary tractor it make poor headway on the trials on test lots of hard ground using a lot of people for the amount of a standard rate could turn. That's cattle can live on renewable resources and positively improve the soil better designs of plywood tried but more power was needed. Three tried the most obvious intermediate solution with a much smaller tractor trailers but even when this present time could get a grip it barely turn the earth and only cost a ridiculously shallow group. As that clearly wasn't the answer. A fundamentally different approach was needed but the result of a rethink what they're designing the simple contraption which they called snail. It needs two men to work it and pulls them to the site on its tiny seven horsepower motor in this mode. It's ideal. T. prom utility. In the field it takes a little time to convert it into a mini equivalent of a traction engine. Has its design for patent families there are no sophisticated parts which can be easily be replaced. Thank you. With the engine running the power unit cannot be driven to the other end of the field leaving behind the towing assembly now converted into a cloud. Thank you. The whole process is more time consuming than using a tractor but it keeps two men usefully employed and only burns about a tenth the feel of a big tractor. Thank you it's still in the prototype stage but the deep sorrow it cut through to the practical alternative to conventional technology. The whole outfit including flour and most are designed for simple construction anywhere in the world for about a hundred pounds or less than a tenth the cost of most factors. Extra equipment unable to to do a whole variety of jobs but until now the tractor provided the only answer. Not surprisingly this kind of idea that causing interest not just in the third world areas for which it was intended for the monk smallholding here who can't afford a big factor. Typical situation. And counted in the third world status in some way or they have a policy of producing the maximum number of eggs because there's a protein gap in the in the nutrition and that gap has to be filled with protein from eggs I visited a considerable number of egg farm and they were the whole floor of a ship was covered with a mix and we can't get them to market we have no packaging lightheartedly my colleagues suggested. Surely we can make a trace and Zambia but nobody know how to do to do it in fact the egg trace and the world are mainly made by one big multinational company and inquiry showed that the smallest production unit would produce about a million a month but the whole requirements of a country like Zambia is a million a year. Asking then the question why don't you make smaller equipment they said this would be an economic. Normally the manufacture of egg boxes needs a constant input of Milicic to tons of waste paper a week which then have to be converted into the Pope which packaging is formed. This plant is one of the most modern in the world. It's super technology at its most efficient than production maximise but the almost total elimination of the human element. The profit sucked into modes of back you in forming and the resulting egg trays dried. Over seven thousand trades an hour produced with speed temperature and pump consistency all controlled automatically with an investment of thousands of pounds. There's no room for human error. All this man has to do is make a quality checks and if things go wrong press a button to call from accounts. Sending out over two million trays and months sounds like this in Britain fill all our needs and or cry other markets sometimes as far off exam here to make best use of the capital invested. His egg tray may look similar but it's involved a completely new intermediate design the boxes when filled with eggs not only stack but interlock to be strapped together without the usual wasted extra crating. But what surprised the industry most in the way they made. This unit costs about fifty of the price of a big. Plant produces a hundredth of a number of trades at the end price put trains about the same. But such an absurdly small scale alternative to massive technology could either work or pay and shaken many economists. This job may not appeal to many but when the problem is to create job opportunities that better than nothing. The plant both makes enough praise for any farming Zambia and creates work for the unemployed. Also unlike mass production at least one operation involves skill. Here it's telling the consistency of the power to see if it's ready for molding. This mode is the high technology company most of the other bits and pieces can be made on site. Also in Africa. There'd be no energy needed to dry the trays the sun would do it's a lot things. I've put a little more than a hundred trains an hour but that's plenty for one single rural area and this small scale production has not created interest even from the big manufacturers. The almost impossible problem and in a blink the third world to enter the twentieth century and our Age of Science and Technology with little pain as much benefit as possible and been the focus of much of the true market work. But there are aspects of so-called primitive village life which he thinks we in the West may have lost in our extreme dependence on machines. Labour may look primitive and is unlikely to appeal to us yet no fuel is being burnt and it's keeping someone in the school job. Whether animal or man. We largely rejected such alternative energy sources without industrial revolution. How improved transport carried coal and people to the new factories causing the growth of new cities is a million history what was less obvious until recently is that this industrial expansion and it's still going on was based on the exploitation of seemingly limitless fossil fuels. People left the land to become the new wage earning consumer labor itself changed as mechanization made human skills redundant in thirty years villages like Middlesborough grow into cities it all happened so far but still trying to make good the mistakes. Obvious one to market suggests need most attention for example although working conditions have improved even today it's still difficult to get job satisfaction when the job and having a machine. Another legacy is that the people in factories not congested entities are wholly dependent not a constant supply of food and fuel and. Some say our coal reserves are good for fifty years to mark up points out that's when today's teenagers expect to be enjoying their retirement. Instead of just exploiting the last cold seems he suggests we should be finding alternative sources of power and better ways of saving it but most important of all we need to discover alternative ways of life which don't wholly depend on burning billions of tons of energy. He's not just calling for economies in coal in the way we use it but questioning the very future of those crystallizations of fossil fuel. Big cities to continue to. Distance of cities the man's huge inputs of energy. Schumacher points out that when ninety five percent of the population live in cities where energy consumption is inevitably high even on food for the remaining five percent somehow have to feed them. Faced with a cause of bricks and mortar it's difficult to see how we can ever decentralized towards smaller communities but if you market is right and city life eventually becomes insupportable it will be the facts not him the persuade a massive exodus from the tangled complexity of urban life to the greatest self sufficiency of small towns and villages. With both North Sea oil and nuclear energy just around the corner many consider his analysis of the current fact about energy too pessimistic but is it. Tain energy involves us all in the price and despite our need for power. Schumacher considers today's price to break take nuclear power although to really make nuclear energy and mass phenomenon and when we talk about all the always talking about handouts of millions of tons. Not millions not ten millions hundreds of Milligan thousands of millions of times to make it quantitatively relevant and you can't do that was natural uranium you have to go on to the breeder reactor. And to breeder reactor is an awesome proposition. They have reproduce for Tony I'm a most terrible substance. Which nature has never produced. Which is not only extremely radioactive but also extremely poisonous. Lump of plutonium which you could hold in your hand the size of a grapefruit if this person would be enough to kill all creation. Plutonium will remain active for thousands of years and all that time it will have to be kept same but it's not just the safety factor that worries some economist about nuclear power so far it's very largely been what's called an energy sink. Which means we spend more energy installing nuclear power stations and we've got back as electricity and show markup here they may never break even. Constructing a nuclear power station uses up a lot of energy not just in building it but in many other processes like mining and then reaching the uranium. It takes about five years and for all that time the plant is a power input. It takes a year to get it going and then at last it produces power for its fairly brief lifetime of about twenty five years. But that's not the end of the story. Materials involved would remain radioactive for at least two hundred fifty thousand years throughout that colossal period just guarding and keeping them safe will involve some energy loss. There's another snag. Reliance on nuclear energy means lots of reactors even if you build one a year when your first one starts producing power the other five being build will still be consuming it. After twelve years with six stations now producing power you still won't have a net power output increase the building program to cope with increasing energy needs and you'll go on pouring more power in the new get out. At present our electricity board wants to build not twelve to thirty six power stations and by nine hundred ninety. North Sea oil can prove a similar energy sink. Considering the vast energy cost of typing it. What's worse we now need this oil not just the transport but agriculture. As most people live in cities all intensive agriculture was developed to feed them with so few left to work on the land. Farming had to become a mechanized chemical lies process farms became factories with cheap oil providing fertilizers and herbicides to replace the good husbandry and high manpower needed in the spoiler. Old fashioned organic songs. Schumacher worked on a farm for several years. He believes if we don't go back to own comic methods the soon won't be enough food to go around. He insists is the only practical alternative to today's all intensive farming as he says the facts will persuade. Ironically modern organic farming could equal even outstrip all based production. These recent headlines certainly seem to point the need for some alternative Schumacher has been proved correct in the past but if he's right yet again. Does it mean all. City dwellers should flee this integration and growing unemployment to try and find a job on the land. To Mark as an optimist even when faced with the colossus of modern city life but dislikes explains and drastic solutions like motorways he criticizes there was a violent answer to transport requirement. Themselves created by short term thinking he wants a new mentality where now the cheap oil is over. We recover from travel made the balloting energy as we rush ourselves around the world. It's necessary to open once I cite and runs imagination to unnecessary complexity of so much that's going on today for instance I go into a shop I want to buy a very straightforward simple article called Joe got I find it's been imported from France. Now if we visualize this and that you're got this participant in every shop it's a large scale production as a big factory. There's another factory that makes plastic containers. Then you're going to sell did to this containers the containers have to be created. Act loaded on to lorries carted to the panel thought. Taking across the Channel probably the whole Laurie because that is supposed to be more efficient and then that big lorry stunned threw in little villages. Delivering this to some central distribution point from their delivery vans into the shops and finally the house five buys it also.
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